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Friday, March 1 • 1:25pm - 2:10pm
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It has dawned upon us that math as it was taught in the US over the course of my lifetime has been a disservice. Products of our math education system have declared themselves “not math people”. And we have allowed that to go on for far too long.
While it’s accepted that there are myriad interpretations of say a poem or a story, it has long been held that there is only one interpretation of a math problem - namely, the answer.
We have recognized that math is not a binary subject in school. It is not merely “right” or “wrong”. There are many avenues to the solution...and even if you don’t get the “answer”, you likely did many things well.
The anxiety that exists around math education involves much more than this binary attitude we think we’ve done away with. It involves the assumptions we have as teachers. Math is a secret class. This starts with the very set of teaching strategies we’ve come to accept as best practice. Students may not be aware, in fact, that math is a binary subject out in the world. You don’t use multiple avenues to figure out the square footage of your backyard. Students need to be explicitly told that math education isn’t binary, but math as you may use it every day, is. Similarly, many assumptions are held in the classroom.
Numbers, as initially presented to children have no markings. Then, suddenly, we have “negative” numbers. And if the numbers aren’t negative...they’re positive. Which is what we’ve been dealing with all along but we haven’t told the kids there’s a secret “+” sign in front of those numbers. Students are taught that the number after 1 is 2. And then one day...presto...there’s 1.5. 9 is 9. But add a zero...and it’s 90. We don’t mention that while we’re adding a zero, we’re also moving the decimal point to the right. Otherwise, 9 with a zero added would be 9.0. These nuances are confusing and subtle and assumed.
We need to look at the math continuum through the eyes of the learner...and question everything.

avatar for Dan Winsor

Dan Winsor

7th/8th Teacher, Steindorf STEAM School
Graduated college with a Finance degree, worked in corporate accounting for 5 years, stayed at home with 2 little boys for 3 years, got my teaching credential and have been teaching 6th-8th math for 14 years.  The teaching part was my best idea.  Not including having kids... Read More →

Friday March 1, 2019 1:25pm - 2:10pm
Sweeney C
  • MATH STANDARDS & PRACTICES standards of mathematical practices
  • WHAT WILL ATTENDEES GAIN? Knowledge that many of our own biases and assumptions create confusing situations for the students.
  • BEYOND "STAND & DELIVER" Allowing the attendees to share ideas and thoughts helps to create a dynamic learning situation.
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Attendees (28)